Sorry to have droned on and on about journaling, but it’s something I feel so strongly about. Carl Jung, Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist, said:
Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.
So I find it’s helpful to go back through my journal from time to time, for it’s not just about releasing pent-up energy (thoughts, feelings, creativity), it’s also about creating a map of where I’ve been and how I lived through it. Looking back has helped me gauge how far I’ve come AND where I’ve gotten stuck and needed some outside help. (And I have a couple of times.) I’ve been encouraged by the things I’ve survived and thought I wouldn’t. That’s one of the most important things for me. Every time I realize that, I find myself becoming stronger. The truth is, for me, whatever I find in my journals from the past can help me make better decisions about the now.
“Those who cannot remember the past
are condemned to repeat it.”
— George Santayana
I’ve struggled with the idea of sharing my journal. I realize my only obligation about my journal is to be myself. But now, after years of journaling, I’m beginning to understand how the character and voice in my journals change when I consider someone may read them. I’ve seen how I hold back parts of me when that happens so I won’t hurt people. But my journals aren’t about other people, they’re about me, and what I think and feel are very important. There have been times I’ve used parts of my journal in letters, blog posts, writing groups, but sharing my journal in its entirety is something I’m still pondering on. Only I can make that decision, and I can’t let it dictate who I am when I write. I just figure I’ll know IF and WHEN the time is right to do that.
“It always comes back to the same necessity:
go deep enough and there is a bedrock of truth,
— May Sarton
Finally, there is one thing I think I’ve been guilty of, and that’s letting my journal become a substitute for truly living. There have been times when it’s begun to get in the way of my daily life and relationships, times I’ve been consumed with keeping up with all THREE of my journals. I’m becoming aware that sometimes there’s a need to set those journals aside for awhile to gain some new perspective on my life. While my journal is meant to be a respite from life, it’s not meant to be a constant retreat. On the contrary, if used in a healthy way it should energize and refresh me to be more balanced when I DO engage in life — not away from, but deeper into, more in tune with who I’m called to be.
“How can you sit down to write
until you have stood up to live?”
— Henry David Thoreau
Making my journal my own has been an adventure and a joy. I have a story to tell that no one else can — mine! Only I know my truth and only I can choose to acknowledge it or not. It’s all up to me.
“The one who knows others is wise.
The one who knows oneself is enlightened.”
Thanks so much for reading my flight of fancy. This was needful for me to clarify what I wanted to do with my journals — pick them up and begin again, or decide if they truly were getting in the way of my risking my butt by living in the real world. I appreciate all your comments and support. You guys are the best!